After being canceled last year due to the pandemic lockdown, the city's annual Easter Egg Hunt will return in April, albeit in a limited fashion.
According to Gabrielle Filgo, community programs coordinator for Auburn Parks and Recreation, this year's hunt is one of the many events that the department is trying to offer this year.
“As a department, we are trying to put on as many of our events as possible,” Filgo said. “Obviously with changes, due to Covid, we are evaluating every event on a case-by-case basis to figure out the best way to approach it.
“With the Easter Egg Hunt, we knew we were going to have to limit the numbers because typically we have over 1,000 kids that come to this event.”
The City of Auburn Parks and Recreation is hosting the 41st Annual Easter Hunt on April 3 at Kiesel Park. Hunts will be broken into three age groups with the 4 and under age group hunt beginning at 10:30 a.m., 5-7 age group at 10:45 a.m. and the 8-10 age group hunt at 11 a.m.
This year’s event will follow national, state and local Covid protocols, including requiring guests to wear a mask. Parks and Rec has limited the capacity to 100 hunters in each of the three different age groups through pre-registration.
Guests can still expect to see the Easter Bunny while hunting for over 35,000 eggs through Kiesel Park, making the hunt one of the largest in Lee County. Among those eggs, Filgo said that the hunters will have the opportunity to locate 10 golden eggs that contain prizes from local businesses in the Auburn area.
Filgo also stated that other changes have been made to ensure guests are safe during the entirety of the hunts.
“One thing that will be different is that instead of having prize slips in the eggs where you can take the slips up to a prize table and redeem it for something like a kite, this year, the eggs will have coupons from local businesses,” Filgo said. “One that we have is 20 percent off of a kid’s outfit at Mountain Outfitters.
“The reason we went for that is to eliminate having so many kids at the table at one time and as a way to promote our local businesses so people can spend their money there.”
Parks and Rec has also opted to forgo food sales this year and will only have the Kona Ice Truck available to guests.
For those registered for the event, families will receive a map of the hunting grounds prior to the events. Parks and Rec is also asking guests to check-in with staff prior to the event to receive a wristband. Only those wearing wristbands that correctly correspond with their age group will be allowed to hunt at the scheduled group time.
As for Filgo, she stated that the department is excited to bring back an event that was canceled due to quarantine efforts in 2020.
“It was really sad for us last year not to be able to do the Easter Egg Hunt because we had new things planned after 40 years of doing the same thing,” Filgo said. “We are excited to be able to offer it this year and, more importantly, offer it for the ones that feel comfortable doing it.
“We are able to offer this for at least 300 kids in the community and that’s more than we were able to do last year.”
Registration for this event is closed due to capacity. For more information about upcoming events, Filgo encourages residents to head to the city's Parks and Recreation website at www.auburnalabama.org/parks/.